'I didn't believe the apprenticeship stereotypes'

Speaking as part of Tes' #InspiringApprentices campaign, Grace Payne says her apprenticeship exceeded all expectations

Grace Payne

#InspiringApprentices: Grace Payne says she has been amazed at the opportunities that her apprenticeship has created

My name is Grace Payne, I’m 18 years old and I live in Kent. I am currently completing the level 6 digital marketer degree apprenticeship at engineering firm TB+A, and studying at London South Bank University. So far, I’ve spent eight months in the business and one month at the university in total.

I came across an apprenticeship whilst I was looking for jobs during my tutor time in school. We were told to use this time to complete our university application. However, I did not feel this was for me so I took the initiative to find myself a role that best suited my own career prospects.

More on this: 'I looked at a gap year, but chose an apprenticeship'

Background: Tes launches #InspiringApprentices campaign

Other news: Minister backs #InspiringApprentices campaign 

'Left to our own devices'

There was a brief mention of apprenticeships as part of careers advice in school. However, the school was directly focused on sending us to university, so those who weren’t interested in studying for a further three years full-time were left to their own devices to find a job after completing their A levels.

I didn’t expect my apprenticeship to be like the stereotypes that people commonly mistake them for, but I also didn’t expect it to give me the opportunities that it has done.

Within eight months of my apprenticeship, I have attended various award shows, events and work socials, travelled across the UK to multiple cities, been given the responsibility and trust to complete major projects by myself and met some incredible people along the way who have really changed my outlook on life. Every day I learn something new, whether it be to do with my university course, the business or even just life itself!

Apprenticeships are a no-brainer

The apprenticeship has 110 per cent exceeded my expectations and more. I’m so pleased I chose this route and I’m really looking forward to seeing where this career path takes me.

With more and more apprenticeship standards now being released, I strongly advise everyone to consider an apprenticeship. For me, it’s a no-brainer. I am gaining valuable practical experience in a real-life work environment, a competitive salary and a university degree with no debts whatsoever.

My day-to-day role consists of updating our company website and its latest news section, managing our social media channels, overseeing marketing campaigns, writing press releases and assisting on the creation of external graphics. I am also responsible for liaising with our head of marketing and communications to pick up on any work that she may need help with.

Extremely supportive

I am very content with the work I am given at TB+A and feel that it pushes me to do better and try harder when I am given more difficult tasks. The work helps me to become more skilful and knowledgeable, as well as allowing me to acknowledge my weaknesses. This is extremely important as it helps me to recognise what skills and personal characteristics I need to improve on, in order to become the best version of myself that I can be.

My line manager and mentor are extremely supportive and there to help me whenever I am feeling stressed, demotivated or upset.

I am treated no differently to any other senior members in the business and my opinions are completely valued when I am involved in various tasks. In fact, I think the majority of the company actually respect an apprentice’s opinion a lot, as we bring fresh ideas to the table and have a very different outlook on life.

I can’t forget to mention the work socials, too…we are always invited and involved in every aspect of the business, even when we aren’t in the office. 

Grace Payne is a level 6 digital marketer degree apprentice at TB+A, studying at London South Bank University. She tells her story as part of the #InspiringApprentices campaign


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Grace Payne

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